For most people, brushing their teeth is mainly about keeping them white and shiny. However, there is much more to tooth brushing then just their aesthetics. In fact, your dental health status can directly affect your physical health. This is because your mouth is the gateway to the digestive system, and any harmful bacteria present within the oral cavity are not only capable of causing tooth cavities and resultant difficulties in mastication and digestion eating , but are also able to travel down towards the other digestive and respiratory organs, and cause severe infections. Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy oral hygiene.
The first and foremost step in this regard is to regularly brush your teeth, at least twice a day. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the correct brushing technique, and are therefore unable to achieve the desired results, despite their best efforts. If you are one of those people, then you do not need to worry at all, simply follow these steps to having health, shiny and white teeth:
Use the Right Toothbrush
- Choose The Right Toothbrush - while your dentist may be able to help you choose a toothbrush that is suitable for your dental need and budget constraints, any toothbrush, whether it is powered or manual, that is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) can be used. It must, however, be kept in mind that the bristles of the brush tend to wear off, and must be changed regularly for optimal oral health.
- Which Toothpaste to Use? - According to most dentists, a fluoride containing toothpaste can be good for your teeth, since fluoride can protect your teeth against cavities and infection.
The Right Way to Brush Your Teeth
While choosing the right tools for a job is necessary, it is equally important to learn the right way of doing it.
- Apply a Small Amount of Toothpaste - contrary to many people's belief that the surface of the brush head must be completely filled with the toothpaste, only a small amount of toothpaste is in fact required. Simply placing a pea-sized amount of toothpaste over your brush is sufficient for optimal cleaning.
- Properly Angle the Brush - place your brush at an angle or 45° to your teeth, and use short, circular or vertical strokes while applying very gentle forces, in order to prevent any inadvertent damage to the teeth and gums. Using excessive brushing force can lead to tooth wear, as well as recession of the gums, causing tooth sensitivity.
- Where to Start? Start by brushing the outer and inner surfaces of the teeth first, making sure that the rear most teeth are not left behind, and thoroughly cleaned. Next, clean the occlusion or biting surfaces of teeth by using a to and fro motion. It is important to clean each and every surface of the teeth, in order to achieve optimal results.
- Gently Brush The Gums - brushing gently over the gums not only helps in removal of plaque from the within the gums, but is also gives a stimulating action to the gums, making the healthier and more resistant to infection. On the contrary, if excessive brushing forces is used over the gums, it may lead to their recession, and ultimately infection.
- Brush Your Tongue Too - your tongue is a huge reservoir of bacteria and food debris, and must be thoroughly cleaned during brushing, in order to prevent infection as well chances of developing a bad breath. Most toothbrushes are provided with tongue scrappers on the opposite sides of the brush heads, and can be conveniently used to clean the tongue. Alternatively, separate tongue cleaners are also abundantly available in the market.
- Don't Rush it - like Shakespeare said "Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast", brushing should also not be done in haste. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth for at least two minutes, by allocating a minimum of 30 seconds to clean each quadrant. The more time you spend cleaning your teeth, the better results you will get!
- Don't Ingest the Toothpaste - it is not advisable to ingest the toothpaste after the tooth brushing has been performed, especially for the children since ingesting it can lead to adverse effects. Instead, the excess of the toothpaste must be spat out, while leaving a thin coating of it over the teeth. This helps in continued protection against cavities and demineralization of teeth.
What Else Should I Do To Keep My Teeth Clean?
- Flossing - flossing after brushing your teeth can help in removal of plaque that has been trapped inside the narrow interdental spaces. For this purpose, both the dental floss, and an oral irrigator can be useful.
- Consult your Dentist - your dentist is the best person to guide you about the best brushing technique suitable for your unique dental hygiene needs. In addition, try to adhere to adhere to your dentist's instructions regarding diet and lifestyle that is good for your teeth. This is because you cannot even enjoy your meal, unless you have cavity free, strong and healthy teeth!